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Brand new to the industry- HELP!

Apr 11, 2019
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Emily
Hey!

I am absolutely brand new to the auto industry and was just hired by a dealership as their Digital Marketing Manager. I am coming from a multi-faceted background. For many years I worked in marketing and communications for non-profits where I handled mostly designing, email marketing, website management, and social media. More recently I have been in e-commerce doing a lot with email marketing, strategy and working with SEO vendors.

So, how did I find myself deciding to work in an industry where I know next to nothing you ask? Well, the owner and I met and we immediately had a great connection. His vision for the future of digital and his passion to pursue it really won me over. He had been jaded working with vendors that were not innovating or understanding his needs. So, he found the idea of bringing someone in who has not been conditioned to the current standard of the industry very appealing. He needed someone who could manage vendors and do some things without a vendor. So, here I am just one week into untangling this web.

This forum has been a great resource and I can clearly see that there are so many talented and experienced people in here. I figured I would reach out for some tips to get me going. The current state of pretty much everything is "Hot Mess". We are a GMC and Buick dealership. CDK has been handling everything with SEO/ FB/ WEB. I have had several phone calls with them already but it is mostly a lot of sales pitches with very little transparency.

I realize there are not many options with the website because of GM's contract with CDK. What are the best ways to go about making things as customizable as possible? Anyone know a talented developer who has experience working on their sites?

With SEO and Social I am probably going to dump CDK as fast as I can. Social I can manage myself but I would love to talk to an SEO expert in this arena and discuss what can be done to bring this up a level (or ten)

There are probably a thousand other things I could ask but those are the big head scratchers for me right now. Any help, advice, links, etc are much appreciated. If you happen to be a person who can consult in these areas don't hesitate to reach out to me!

Thank You!!!
 

Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
2,787
1,397
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Alex
It is a more expensive route to go, but one I enjoyed during my dealership days... Make another website any way you wish and do some light updates to the mandated CDK site.

I came from a dealer group where Hyundai, VW, MINI, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Porsche all had some sort of mandated website provider we had to choose from (if we had a choice). We believed we knew how to market better to our local market and did not want to be the same cookie-cutter experience with our competition. It drove us enough to spend the extra money on websites that were outside of the mandate and we did just enough to live up to the OEM demands on the websites they made us have.
This is double and maybe even triple the expense, but if you wish to escape the OEM control it isn't cheap.
 
Feb 5, 2019
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Colin
Welcome, Emily!

I don't want to be too "pitch-y" in the forums, but a lot of the things that you mentioned possibly needing help with are things that the agency I work for specialize in. I sent over a PM with my contact info, feel free to reach out at any time to discuss.

I would definitely lean heavily on the expertise in this forum, it's such a great source of info from people who have been in the industry for a long time.
 

John.H

Getting Refreshed
Nov 12, 2018
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John
I remember being in nearly the same position. I was offered a 6 figure salary for managing an auto groups marketing internally. However, was turned off by the deal because I'd have to dedicate myself to them, and sign contracts that would prevent me from working with their competitors. Dissolving any relationships I had with other dealers in the area, which took so long to nurture. I don't know about you, but I'm looking to help the WORLD!

Enough about me though, let's talk about you.

Used to be in SEO pretty heavily (ranking personal affiliate sites), so should you have any questions, feel free to ask.

At this current time though, I'm focused in around Facebook Advertising & SMS. As it's proven to be one of the most cost effective ways of producing sales in the vehicular space. My recommendation is if you guys have a special finance guy, run with the opportunity and get some ads going.



Oh, and those sales appointments in the screenshot above closed at a 17% close rate Most were subprime, but some buyers had decent credit ratings.

Beyond all this, please read some of my short tutorials. They should give you some darn good insight, maybe even a clear cut path to get a successful campaign running from the gecko:

Why Run Facebook Ads for Your Dealership? More Importantly: HOW

How to turn Leads into a Sales via SMS

Collect Car Buyer Leads CHEAPLY & EFFECTIVELY!

 

Alexander Lau

Sr. Refresher
Feb 11, 2015
2,186
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Alex
Unfortunately, you're walking into a cesspool of an environment with rotten, lying vendors of all types. Clowns and crooks to the nth degree. There are some best practices out there, I'll dig the links up and post.

Always keep in mind, measure everything and trust no one.
 
Reactions: Billy B

ryan.leslie

Sr. Refresher
Apr 20, 2009
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Ryan
Hey @EmilyJSpellman,

Welcome to the RefreshForums. I have two quick thoughts/advice for you.

  1. Don't post once and disappear. It looks like you have a lot of experience to share and a few things to learn too. This is a great place for both.
  2. Utilize your Vendors!
    1. Make a list of all the people you pay and ask them for an introductory call. Tell them you are new at your store and want to understand what they do for you and what you can do for them without increasing your spend to improve your operations. You'll find out really quickly which ones you want to keep paying. Every vendor pays lip service to "wanting to be your partner," the number that put in the effort to partner with you is sadly smaller, but give them a chance to impress you.
    2. My humble opinion only, but there are some amazing vendors in this space. The good ones will jump at the chance to tell you what they do and how they think they can better assist you and even make some suggestions on things that may improve your operations outside of their product too. Remember that they talk to 10, 20, maybe 30 dealers a week that have the same challenges you have. Use them.
Again, welcome to the Forums.
 
Reactions: Alex Snyder

Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
2,787
1,397
113
First Name
Alex
Unfortunately, you're walking into a cesspool of an environment with rotten, lying vendors of all types. Clowns and crooks to the nth degree. There are some best practices out there, I'll dig the links up and post.

Always keep in mind, measure everything and trust no one.
It is no different today that it has ever been. Snake oil existed long before the Internet. Don't get lost in this kind of thinking.
 

Alexander Lau

Sr. Refresher
Feb 11, 2015
2,186
602
113
First Name
Alex
It is no different today that it has ever been. Snake oil existed long before the Internet. Don't get lost in this kind of thinking.
Surely, but the sooner she realizes this, avoiding the multitude of snake oil salesmen in this vertical the better off she is. Let's be honest about it. The tools that truly expose what works is where your intent should be. See Driven-Data, etc.
 
Apr 11, 2019
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Emily
Wow thank you! There is so much helpful information here. I will be sure to keep posting and learning in this forum. I said I wanted a challenge in my next position and it sounds like I found it!
 
Reactions: Alex Snyder

NickCybela

Refresher
Jul 30, 2009
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Nick
You might consider setting a corporate policy around the things you want to do. By framing it as a written policy you can often enforce a higher degree of control and transparency than normal. However, if you're at a single point vs group that will be harder.

Have you balanced the pros/cons of bringing some of the initiatives in-house? Given your technical experience that may be more economical.

I agree with Alex' recommendation around building a secondary site and strategy. I've also found that's the fastest route to exponential success.